NASA has discovered that the surface of the ISS is absolutely covered with bacteria. The space agency has made a complete catalog of all non-human life aboard the ISS, and the list is long. Accurately understanding what you can live in the intense conditions of space will help future missionary plans for safety and may even begin to form the basis of new types of space foods.
RELATED: THE ORGANIZATIONS OF THE EARTH SURVIVE 533 DAYS IN THE SPACE OUTSIDE THE ISS
The surprising depth of bacterial biodiversity is due in part to the lack of competition. Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the corresponding author said:
"It has been shown that specific microbes in interior spaces of the Earth affect human health, which is even more important for astronauts during space flight, since they have altered immunity and do not have access to the sophisticated medical interventions available on Earth. In the light of a possible future "long-term missions, it is important to identify the types of microorganisms that can accumulate in the unique and closed environments badociated with space flights, how long they survive and their impact on human health and infrastructure. the space ships. "
Bacteria similar to a gym or hospital
After examining environmental samples of surfaces in the ISS and aerial locations, the researchers discovered that the microbes in the ISS were mostly badociated with humans. The most prominent bacteria present on board the space station were Staphylococcus (26% of total isolates), Pantoea (23%) and Bacillus (11%).
RELATED: THE MICROBIOS IN THE ISS ARE MUTATING TO SURVIVE, DO NOT KILL
On Earth, these bacteria are most commonly found in gyms, offices and hospitals that show that the ISS is not that different from other built environments occupied by people. One approach of the study was to examine how these bacteria might contribute to the disease in astronauts.
The astronaut's health is a high priority.
The human body undergoes many changes when it is in space, including an altered immune system. Understanding what bacteria are treated is essential to plan the good health of future crews.
"It is unknown if these opportunistic bacteria could cause diseases in astronauts in the ISS, which would depend on several factors, including the health status of each individual and how these organisms function in the space environment, independently of the detection of possible diseases." The stress-causing organisms highlight the importance of additional studies to examine how these ISS microbes function in space, "said Dr. Checinska Sielaff, first author of the study.
Research to help the inhabitants of Earth also
The samples were located in eight locations within the ISS, including the viewing window, the toilet, the exercise platform, the dining table and the bedrooms.
Bacteria were collected over three flights over 14 months to understand how the populations of microbes and fungi differed between locations and over time. Temporary differences can be attributed to changes of crew members on board the station.
RELATED: INDUSTRY LEADERS EXPLAIN HOW ISS MAKES BETTER LIFE ON EARTH
The results will be used by NASA for future research, including applications for the defense of bacteria on Earth.
"Our study provides the first complete catalog of bacteria and fungi found on the surfaces of closed-space systems and can be used to help improve safety measures that meet NASA's requirements for human habitation. in deep space. The results can also have a significant impact on our understanding of other confined environments built on Earth, such as clean rooms used in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, "concludes Dr. Venkateswaran.